Asheville native Nicki Ingle brings business, marketing, and nonprofit experience ─ plus a deeply-felt love of Asheville ─ to her volunteer role as Co-Chair of Art Affair 2019: Mission X. We asked her about that, as part of the OpenDoors 10th Anniversary “10 Years10 People” series.
Question: What’s your focus leading up to this event?
NI: To help kids receive enrichment, education, and opportunities like summer camps and tutoring. I know what it costs for OpenDoors to get kids the help they need. Knowing that Art Affair is OpenDoors’ main fundraiser, I want it to be a success and raise more money than ever.
Q: What surprised you about your Co-Chair experience?
NI: All the great people I get to meet and work with who are so talented! And the chance to familiarize myself with the Asheville art community and get to know their world, which is so different from my world.
Q: Different how?
NI: There’s not an artistic bone in my body. (laughter) But now I get to interact with so many artists, and really get to know all about them. I love that.
Q: They are so vital to Asheville’s personality, aren’t they?
NI: I know, I love Asheville and what’s happening with diversity and culture here.
Q: As a native you’ve witnessed lots changes.
NI: I have, and it’s fabulous! But I do worry about families like those OpenDoors helps, and the opportunity gap. It’s getting harder for them to survive. I love my Asheville, but we have to help everyone in our whole community succeed.
Q: How were you introduced to OpenDoors?
NI: Through a very good friend.
Q: What impressed you most?
NI: The quality of the resources that OpenDoors provides. It is what any parent would want to do for their own kid to make sure they succeed.
Q: Are you speaking from parental experience?
NI: When my son was diagnosed with dyslexia he was fortunate to have access to great help. But many kids are undiagnosed, because often it’s treated like a behavioral problem. Or they just don’t get the help and advocacy they need. OpenDoors provides those kind of special resources.
Q: It sounds transformative.
NI: When an OpenDoors kid comes back from college, other kids look up to them. They say, “Hey, that’s what I want to do with my life!” That is why OpenDoors is such a successful model for breaking the cycle of poverty.
Q: That’s really inspiring.
NI: Yes, that was my whole reason for getting involved. Now I want to get more involved. Not just with Art Affair but with year-round OpenDoors educational programming, too.